IT was a dramatic night in the South Cotswolds after long-serving Conservative MP James Gray was ousted by the Liberal Democrats.

Dr Roz Savage has become the first MP for the new South Cotswolds constituency, triumphing over former North Wiltshire MP James Gray - who had served since 1997.

She has also made history as the first ever female MP elected for the area and the first non-Conservative MP in more than 100 years.

The new seat includes the towns of Cirencester and Tetbury plus parts of the abolished North Wiltshire constituency, including Cricklade, Purton and Malmesbury.

Dr Savage won the constituency with 22,961 votes, while Mr Gray came second with 17,988 votes.

The results are as follows - Roz Savage (Liberal Democrat) 22,961, James Gray, (Conservative) 17,988, Desi Latimer (Reform) 5,146 and Zoë Billingham (Labour) 3,942.

Meanwhile, Bob Eastoe (Green) received 1,564, Chris Twells (Liberal Party) 225, Sandy Steel (Independent) 183, Martin Broomfield (Social Democratic Party) 156 and Owen Humphrys (Independent) 122.

Mr Gray had previously served as MP for 27 years previously representing the now abolished seat of North Wiltshire since 1997.

“It’s been a tricky night" 

Speaking after losing his seat Mr Gray said it had been a “difficult night” for the Conservatives - who lost more than 250 seats.

“Ladies and gentlemen you can’t swim against the tide of history,” he said. 

“It’s been a tricky night for the Conservative party, I will not try and make any excuses, it's been a difficult night for us and I’ve lost my seat as a result.

“Thank you to the people who have voted for me and supported me all my 27 years. 

“I hope I’ve made a little contribution in those years to make your life just a little bit better.”

"My work as your new MP starts right now"

Speaking in her victory speech, Dr Roz Savage said: "Thank you, I am absolutely honoured.

"Thank you Rob to you and all of your staff here tonight, it's been a long night.

"I really appreciate your diligence and hard work. I also want to thank the election manager and the rest of the team.

"As well as those who worked throughout the day, whether that was yesterday or today, I'm not quite sure."

Turnout in the South Cotswolds constituency on Thursday was 72.88 per cent -  with 52,452 people voting out of an electorate of 71,971.

This was a lower turnout in contrast to 2019's snap election for the former and now abolished Cotswolds seat where 74.7 per cent voted.


She added: "I'd like to acknowledge my party leader Sir Ed Davey, who has run a fantastic campaign and it's really great to see that reflected in his approval ratings across the country and I congratulate him on increasing his majority tonight.

"He has done a fantastic job of raising awareness of the issue of sewage in our waterways and I'm proud of his stance fighting for clean water, and for social care and for our carers, who serve such an important role.

"My absolute heartfelt thanks to go to my campaign team, I'm so proud to call you my colleagues."

"This win is also a triumph for the hundreds of Lib Dem volunteers who have been working their socks off, not just for the last six weeks, but throughout the winter.

"I really enjoyed this campaign and I also want to pay tribute to my opponents for a good clean fight and I really appreciate that.

The election count last night taking place at Cirencester Leisure Centre - photo by Cotswold District Council  (Image: Cotswold District Council)


"I'm here to serve all the people of the South Cotswolds"

"It has felt like we have done something in our corner of this country to restore faith in politics and politicians. 

"In particular, I want to pay tribute to my Conservative opponent James Gray who has served the people of North Wiltshire for the last 27 years, an amazing record of public service.

"That absolutely deserves our respect and recognition, thank you James.

"I also want to thank Sir Geoffrey Clifton Brown for his work in the other half of this new constituency in the Cotswolds and congratulate him on retaining his seat tonight."

"My work as your new MP starts right now and I do not for a moment underestimate the scale of that challenge, there is so much that needs to be done.

"I'm here to serve all the people of the South Cotswolds, I'm aware that many of you did not vote for me, or did not vote at all.

"I really hope over the coming years, I will earn and deserve your trust. I'm here to serve all of you, your families and your communities.

"Finally, I want to acknowledge two very special people in my life, who are no longer with us, to see this important moment in my life, my parents. 

"My mother passed away last year and my dad 20 years ago. They were both committed Christians and worked for the Methodist Church, my dad as a minister and my mother a deaconess.

"What I learnt from them is that the highest call is service to your community.

"Without them, I wouldn't be standing here as the first Liberal to be elected to represent our communities in the South Cotswolds for over 100 years.

"Thank you, I will not let you down."

The new South Cotswolds seat includes Malmesbury, Cirencester, Tetbury and even Castle Combe (Image: Newsquest)